- Cervical (Neck)
- Lumbar (Low Back)
- Is it normal to have some numbness and tingling after surgery?
Yes. It is normal to have some numbness and tingling for few weeks after surgery. This is because during surgery, your nerves were moved to do surgery safely. Also, the nerve is an electrical signal and when the compression is removed, there can be inflammation for the nerve recovering.
- When can I drive.
You can be a passenger in the car without an issue. Most patients do not start driving by themselves till 2-3 weeks after surgery. They have to be off narcotics during the day to drive. Also, patients start off driving short distances first to make sure their reaction speed is okay and they can see the blind spots. If any questions, please call the office.
- How do take care of the wound.
Most patients have stitches that dissolve. You do not have to remove them. On top of the stitches is glue to reinforce the wound. Please have the wound covered for the first 2-3 days after surgery. You can take a shower 1-2 days after surgery as long as the wound is covered. After 2-3 days, remove the bandage and let it open to air. You can then get the wound wet then. Let the water drip over it, but don't scrub. Avoid bathtubs and pool until you see Dr Park at the first postoperative visit.
- What is my weight limit after surgery.
Typically patients should avoid more than 5-10 lbs for the first 4-6 weeks after surgery.
- Does laser surgery = minimally invasive surgery? Do you use the laser?
Minimally invasive spine surgery utilizes a wide variety of advanced techniques, including lasers, endoscopes, operating microscopes, as well as computer-assisted navigation systems, so that procedures typically done with a large, open decision can be done through small openings. The same goals of traditional spinal surgery are done in minimally invasive surgery, but they are done through smaller incision. So simple answer, laser does not equal minimally invasive surgery. Dr Park does utilize the laser if your pathology dictates its use.
- When can I go back to work?
When one can return to work depends on the reason you had surgery, what type of surgery, and what type of work you do. For patients with sedentary jobs, such as office work, a discectomy would allow that patient to begin part-time work within 1-2 weeks. For a larger surgery such as a fusion, this may take 4-6 weeks or longer.
- When should I have spine surgery?
Surgery should always be the last resort when it comes to treating spinal conditions in the neck and back. Non-operative treatment should be tried first in the vast majority of patients. Typically, a course of 3-6 months of nonoperative treatment is recommended before surgery. However, there are some conditions that are a surgical emergency such as loss of bowel and bladder control, trauma, and extreme weakness in the arms or legs. Ultimately, the decision for surgery should be individualized to the patient and the patient’s symptoms, along with their level of function.
- Am I candidate for minimally invasive surgery?
The field of minimally invasive spine surgery continues to grow. Most surgeries today can be treated with some aspect of minimally invasive surgery. However, there are certain conditions that require standard open treatment, such as high-degree scoliosis, tumors and some infections. The best options should be individualized to the patient’s diagnosis and overall patient condition.
- Will a resident or student doctor be operating on me?
Many gather to observe surgery with Dr Park and by working at an academic institution there are resident physicians that come to learn from Dr Park. However, Dr Park performs the surgery himself with an assistant to help retract and assist during the surgery.
- What is the benefit of minimally invasive surgery?
Minimally invasive surgery minimizes bleeding, reduces the hospital stay, and allows for quicker healing without losing any benefits of an open procedure.
- Do I need a brace?
Bracing is NOT needed following most spine surgeries. Dr Park may provide you with a brace to help remind you that you had surgery or if you had a fracture, a brace may be recommended after surgery as well.
- Can I go through a metal detector or another MRI?
The implants in spinal procedures (titanium and PEEK) do not set off the alarms in an airport and are MRI compatible.
- Will I need a note from my surgeon?
You do NOT need a clearance note from your spine surgeon.
For the majority of our fusion patients, minimal loss of flexibility is noticed.
Preparing for Surgery/Procedure
:: Preparing for Surgery
Once you and your Doctor decide that surgery will help you, you'll need to learn what to expect from the surgery and create a treatment plan for the best results afterward. Preparing mentally and physically for surgery is an important step toward a successful result. Understanding the process and your role in it will help you recover more quickly and have fewer problems.
Working with Your Doctor
Before surgery, your doctor will give you a complete physical examination to make sure you don't have any conditions that could interfere with the surgery or its outcome. Routine tests, such as blood tests and X-rays, are usually performed a week before any major surgery.
Discuss any medications you are taking with your doctor and your family physician to see which ones you should stop taking before surgery.
Discuss with your doctor options for preparing for potential blood replacement, including donating your own blood, medical interventions and other treatments, prior to surgery.
If you are overweight, losing weight before surgery will help decrease the stress you place on your new joint. However, you should not diet during the month before your surgery.
If you are taking aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications or warfarin or any drugs that increase the risk of bleeding you will need to stop taking them one week before surgery to minimise bleeding.
If you smoke, you should stop or cut down to reduce your surgery risks and improve your recovery.
Have any tooth, gum, bladder or bowel problems treated before surgery to reduce the risk of infection later.
Eat a well-balanced diet, supplemented by a daily multivitamin with iron.
Report any infections to your surgeon. Surgery cannot be performed until all infections have cleared up.
Arrange for someone to help out with everyday tasks like cooking, shopping and laundry.
Put items that you use often within easy reach before surgery so you won't have to reach and bend as often.
Remove all loose carpets and tape down electrical cords to avoid falls.
Make sure you have a stable chair with a firm seat cushion, a firm back and two arms.
:: Preparing for Procedure
If you are having Day Surgery, remember the following
Have someone available to take you home, you will not be able to drive for at least 24 hours.
Do Not drink or eat anything in the car on the trip home.
The combination of anaesthesia, food, and car motion can quite often cause nausea or vomiting. After arriving home, wait until you are hungry before trying to eat. Begin with a light meal and try to avoid greasy food for the first 24 hours.
If you had surgery on an extremity (leg, knee, hand or elbow), keep that extremity elevated and use ice as directed. This will help decrease swelling and pain.
Take your pain medicine as directed. Begin the pain medicine as you start getting uncomfortable, but before you are in severe pain. If you wait to take your pain medication until the pain is severe, you will have more difficulty controlling the pain.